Moorhead Police Warning Public About Increase In Scams

The police department has taken 16 reports of fraud in the past two weeks

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Moorhead Police are warning the public about a recent increase in the number of scams involving the payment of bogus debts with gift cards.

Whether it’s over the phone or online, scammers have been targeting many in the Valley with threats and emotional pleas.

All them are designed to get victims to hand over their hard–earned money.

And so far this year, the scammers have been hard at work.

“Since the beginning of the year, we’re averaging about a scam a day – a fraud report a day – and we know that many people don’t report,” said Capt. Tory Jacobson of the Moorhead Police.

In addition to the recent gift card and jury duty scams, police say that scammers are about ready to use an old tactic to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.

“We’re now soon coming into tax season, so we’re going to see an uptick in IRS–types of claims,” said Jacobson.

Experts say to never pay debts via gift card and to dig deeper if things don’t feel right.

“You need to follow up by making the contact yourself to the legitimate agency,” said Jacobson.

“Hang up the phone.  Find that company on Google or whatever search engine you use, look them up and call that number,” said Heather Aal of the North Dakota Better Business Bureau.

Experts ask the public to be alert because scammers use a system that tugs at their heartstrings and takes advantage of our busy schedules.

“They may be preying upon emotions…they could be using family members,” said Jacobson.

“We’re busy, we’re on our phones a lot.  We often times are doing multiple things at the same time and we can’t stop and really think about what we are doing,” said Aal.

Police also warn that it is difficult to recover money lost to phone scammers.

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